Panera Bread has plans to double the number of restaurants that deliver, an announcement made on the heels of its $7.5B purchase by JAB Holding Co. The announcement, made earlier this week, highlights company plans to also add 10,000 employees. Additional new hires include delivery drivers and in-store workers to help prepare food for off-premise services.
The “Panera Delivery” platform will be based on digital and mobile ordering, and will generally provide lunch and dinner to locations within an eight-minute drive of a restaurant. As it stands, approximately 15 percent of Panera Bread locations had delivery services at the end of Q4 2016. That number will expand to an estimated 40 percent by the end of 2017.
The company first introduced delivery in 2015 and expanded its reach in 2016. Panera Bread also added delivery to their MyPanera loyalty program in a nod to its consumer base. The MyPanera loyalty program has 25 million users.
Eye on tech
Enhancing its technology platform for delivery also seems to be a focus for the company. Preparation is now underway to roll out a new order-tracking system through a partnership with Bringg. The platform will give customers the ability to track driver arrival time, follow delivery progress on a map, see a photo of the driver, and receive notification when the driver has arrived.
And while the company has used third-party delivery systems in some test markets, Panera Bread execs said they plan to hire their own fleet of drivers in company and franchised-locations across the country.
“In many places across the country, all that’s available for delivery is pizza or Chinese food,” said Ron Shaich, Panera Bread chairman and CEO, in a statement. “We’re closing the gap in delivery alternatives and creating a way for people to have more options for real food delivered to their homes and workplaces.”